Practicing a New Identity
Faith in Christ is not necessarily proclaiming an allegiance, or even making a commitment, but putting on a new identity.
The mythical figure of Sherlock Holmes was a master of disguise. Brilliant in deduction, Sherlock acknowledged the need for information. Obtaining truth sometimes required a transformation of identity. He needed to mesh into the environment. He needed to be perceived as someone who belonged and could be trusted. Sherlock became somebody outside of himself.
Taking on a new identity requires both practice and skill.
A new life in Christ means learning how to take on a new identity. It means becoming someone outside of yourself. Instead of becoming a master of disguise like Sherlock Holmes, it simply means changing your diet.
“In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:12-14)
Here are three thoughts about becoming a new identity in Christ:
A life in Christ is alien to our human nature. We have the natural tendency to relish the darkness and all things contrary to God. An immature Christian is like an infant. They are self-absorbed and easily swayed by the distractions and anxieties of the world. It doesn’t take much effort to act or respond like an infant. But to walk in righteousness? That is unnatural to our human nature. It takes training and effort to learn how to respond appropriately and learn to distinguish between good and evil.
A life in Christ means taking on a new identity apart from our human nature. We grow and mature in Christ so that we can become Christ-like — a new creation. By exercising our faith, we become somebody outside of ourselves. Only then can we begin to hunger and thirst for righteousness. A hunger and thirst that can only be satisfied by drinking from the living water and eating the solid food of God’s Word.
We place our full identity in Christ instead of someone or something else. To distract ourselves from the challenges or disappointments in life, there is a tendency to focus our energies or sense of belonging on things outside of Christ. By doing so, we miss out on opportunities to mature and grow.
Sherlock Holmes became a master of creating a new identity. It took practice and skill. With the same passion and desire, Christians have the opportunity to take full advantage of His Word. In doing so, we train ourselves to become a new identity in Christ. Only then can the fruits of His Spirit be produced for the world.
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